27 Sep 2023 13:40

Warsaw urges Kiev to withdraw WTO complaint

WARSAW. Sept 27 (Interfax) - Polish Agriculture Minister Robert Telus has urged Ukraine to withdraw the complaint it filed with the World Trade Organization (WTO) over Poland's ban on Ukrainian grain imports, Radio Poland said on Wednesday.

"The Ukrainian complaint to the WTO is unfounded, and I will discuss its withdrawal with the Ukrainian economy minister," Telus said. "Poland's stance is firm: Ukrainian grain can have no influence on the Polish market," he said.

Telus held virtual talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Nikolai Solsky on Wednesday, Radio Poland said. The Polish minister said "the Ukrainian side had accepted Warsaw's arguments."

The meetings will continue in the coming weeks, including a meeting due next week to address the possibility of Ukrainian grain transit to Lithuanian ports.

"I am satisfied with the talks with the Ukrainian side and the way future mechanisms are being developed. This is a duty of Poland, primarily, a duty to the European Union. Mechanisms have to be created to protect the markets of both Poland and the EU, and to make sure that the grain goes where it is in short supply," Radio Poland quoted Telus as saying.

The European Commission said on September 15 it would not extend the restrictions of Ukrainian agricultural imports by five neighboring EU member states (Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia) on certain terms that would help avoid a new steep increase in deliveries.

The restrictions on imports of wheat, rapeseed, sunflower seed and corn were imposed on May 2. The five EU member states said that duty-free imports of Ukrainian agricultural products by the EU led to the accumulation of such products on their markets and harmed their farmers.

When the restrictions were lifted, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia imposed unilateral bans, and Bulgaria started considering quotas on Ukrainian sunflower seeds. Poland expanded the list of banned imports to rapeseed cake and meal, as well as corn bran, wheat flour and derivative products. Hungary expanded the list to 24 prohibited goods.

Ukraine filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization and accused Poland, Hungary and Slovakia of discriminating against Ukrainian agricultural products.